Meaningful Business (MB): Can you tell us a bit about the issues you are trying to solve through your work and why you selected them
Ebinabo Ofrey (EO): In Nigeria there is a 75% chance of losing one or both parents to untimely death or debilitating medical conditions before the age of 40 due to the lack of a preventive care structure for the elderly.
This issue became more apparent to me a few years ago when my father, despite me being a medical doctor for over 20 years, suffered two massive strokes within one year, leaving him unable to speak and with no feeling on his right side. Unfortunately, I was working and living in a different state at the time, making it difficult for me to provide adequate care. As if that were not enough, my mother informed me that both her blood pressure and blood sugar were dangerously high, and she accused me of neglecting them. I realised that I, like many others, had prioritised my career and immediate family, neglecting my parents in the process.
This led me to question whether it was possible to provide preventive medical care for our parents from anywhere in the world and show them that we care.
MB: How are you tackling those problems, and what impact are you having?
EO: GeroCare’s solution is addressing the lack of preventive medical care for the elderly in Nigeria by providing a simple and convenient way for Nigerians within and outside the country to subscribe to regular home visits and medical care for their elderly loved ones, in any city in Nigeria, using the GeroCare application.
We also provide a platform for healthcare professionals to offer preventive medical care, enabling early detection and treatment of medical conditions that may otherwise become severe and life- threatening.
GeroCare’s impact on the lives of Nigerians cannot be overstated. The platform has provided easy access to preventive medical care for the elderly, thereby reducing the likelihood of untimely death or debilitating medical conditions. It has also given family members peace of mind knowing that their elderly loved ones are receiving the best possible care, regardless of their location or busy schedules. Additionally, the platform has provided job opportunities for healthcare professionals, further boosting the Nigerian economy.
MB: What is your biggest challenge right now, and what support do you need?
EO: Scaling a business is always a challenging task and GeroCare is no exception. To increase our positive impact and reach more elderly Nigerians who need our services, we require support in the following areas:
– Funding: Investment in our business will enable us to improve the quality of our services and scale our operations in Nigeria, as well as expand to other African countries experiencing similar problems.
– Partnerships: Collaboration with other healthcare providers, insurance companies, and community organisations will help us increase our reach and impact.
– Technology support: Our business relies heavily on technology and we require support to maintain and upgrade our systems. We also need support to develop new and innovative solutions that can improve the delivery of healthcare services to the elderly.
MB: How do you work with partners and the wider ecosystem to achieve your mission?
EO: We recognise that collaboration is key and propose working with the wider ecosystem in the following ways:
– Healthcare Providers: We collaborate with hospitals, clinics, caregiver services, pharmacies and laboratories to ensure that our clients receive the best possible care. Currently, we have over 700 medical doctors, 500+ hospitals and clinics, 1,000+ pharmacies and 100+ laboratories in our network covering 52 cities in Nigeria. This collaboration involves sharing patient information and creating referral systems to ensure that our clients receive the appropriate care.
– Insurance Companies: At the moment we are partnered with two of the largest health insurance companies in Nigeria, helping us reduce the financial burden on our clients and ensure that they have access to quality healthcare services
– Community Organisations: We will collaborate senior citizen groups, to create awareness of our services. We would also collaborate with ethnic organisations, faith-based organisations, and cooperatives especially in the diaspora to provide the members an avenue to provide regular doctor home visits and home medical care for their parents and elderly loved ones in Nigeria.
– Regulatory Agencies: We are playing in a nascent space which is not fully regulated yet in Nigeria. We will also advocate for policies and regulations that promote the growth and sustainability of our business.
MB: What is your ambition for the future of your business?
EO: We are building the Amazon of digital preventive care in Africa beginning with doctor home visits.
Then: Telehealth, wearables, marketplace, Uber type of eldercare by leveraging on our already existing and trusted brand name.
MB: How do you measure success?
EO: Some of the metrics we use at GeroCare are:
– Number of clients: We measure this by tracking the number of subscribers on a regular basis.
– Customer satisfaction: We measure customer satisfaction by conducting surveys and collecting feedback from our clients, mainly the net promoter score.
– Health outcomes: This involves tracking indicators such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and other health markers. By monitoring these indicators over time, we can assess the effectiveness of our services in preventing and managing chronic diseases.
– Financial performance: We track key financial indicators such as revenue, expenses, and profit margins. This helps us assess the sustainability and viability of our business model.
– Social impact: This involves tracking indicators such as reduced healthcare costs, improved access to healthcare services, and increased productivity of our elderly patients.
MB – Tell us a mistake you’ve learned from
EO: Assuming that because I think something is important, that the users/customers also think it’s important. I realised this from spending a lot of time and money on designing certain features that the users did not use at all.
MB – How do you spend your time away from work?
EO: Teaching and coaching other entrepreneurs and ministering in church.
MB – What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
EO: Do not be stubborn about a business idea or business model until it is working.
MB – What is something you wish you were better at?
EO: Playing the piano.
MB – What is the one book everyone should read?
EO: Every business owner should read – The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.
Discover the other leaders recognised on the 2022 MB100, for their work combining profit and purpose to help achieve the United Nations Global Goals, here.